Preparing to take a boyfriend home to meet the family can be fraught with worry. When I took my now husband back to my family home for the first time, I'm sure I dished out a few instructions to my family to make sure the weekend didn't put him off for good. To my little brothers and sister it would have been "no yelling and fighting" and to my parents it may have been something like "can you please clear any clothes off the dining table?". One end of the 10-foot dining table had become the place to sort clean washing into piles for each family member to collect.
I never thought to discuss the menu until we'd emerged from our two-hour car ride and someone announced that mum was making her special spinach pie. Oh dear, perhaps it was important to have told someone that my beloved once announced as a child that he was so hungry, he could eat vegetables. Or that the freezer in his childhood home usually contained half a sheep and half a pig. Or that his dad is known to eat a slab of meat on toast for breakfast. Needless to say, my mother's filo, feta and spinach pie was eaten one small bite at a time that night followed by a swig of beer after each forced mouthful. This story is now a family legend and my sibling's spinach pie jokes are still giving them a laugh at family dinners.
Eight years later, a number of vegetarian dishes have happily made their way onto our weekly menu-for-two. Most recently, I found a recipe for zucchini, carrot and corn pancakes. I am particularly partial to corn so I'm very fond of this flavoursome fritter. It's the parmesan that makes them though. A delicious cheesy bite. I'd recommend them for a weekend breakfast. Or jump on the Meat Free Monday bandwagon and mix them up for a light and tasty meal. You'll be joining a growing brigade of celebs, fashionistas and everyday folk who are following founders Sir Paul McCartney and his daughters Mary and Stella to raise awareness of the climate-changing impact of meat production and consumption. You might even like to try your hand at spinach pie. It hasn't been made for us for eight years now but I have fond memories of the crunchy, buttery filo pastry top. A safer bet would be to try these beauties:
Zucchini, carrot and corn pancakes
Serves 4 (makes 12 pancakes)
3/4 cup milk
90g butter, melted, cooled
3/4 cup plain flour
2 small zucchini, grated
2 small carrots, peeled, grated
125g can corn kernels, drained, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
3/4 cup grated parmasen
Alfa One rice bran oil cooking spray
3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
50 baby rocket
2 tablespoons Italian dressing
1. Whisk milk, eggs and butter together in a large jug. Place flour in a bowl. Make a well in centre. Using a metal spoom, stir in milk mixture until just combined. Squeeze excess liquid from zucchini. Add zucchini, carrot, corn, parsely and 2/3 cup parmesen to milk mixture. Stir until just combined. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Spray a large non-stick frying pan with oil. Heat over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup mixture into pan. Using a spatula, spread lightly. Cook for 3 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Repeat with remaining mixture to make 12 pancakes, spraying pan with oil when required.
3. Place tomato and rocket in a bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Serve packcakes with tomato mixture.
Source: Super Food Ideas March 2010